CMIT Appoints New Project Leaders

Sharese Hurst was promoted to project manager and Jeffrey Marton was hired as a Project Coordinator at CMIT.
Sharese Hurst was promoted to project manager and Jeffrey Marton was hired as a Project Coordinator at CMIT.

The Correctional Management Institute of Texas recently appointed two project team leaders – one a longtime employee and the other a 30-year veteran of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Sharese Hurst, who has worked for CMIT since 2000, was promoted to Project Manager, overseeing all jail management programs. Jeffrey Marton, retired Director of Training for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, will be a project coordinator for programs in mid-level and senior corrections leadership.

“Both Sharese and Jeff are dedicated and committed to our CMIT core focus of serving the correctional professional through training and professional development,” said Doug Dretke, Executive Director of CMIT.

Before joining CMIT, Hurst was an adult probation officer in Walker County for 10 years. She will manage CMIT’s programs in Jail Management and Operations, the Annual Jail Conference, the Newly Elected Sheriffs Program, the National Jail Leadership Command Academy, the Wardens Peer Interaction Program, Criminal Justice Planners, Courtroom Security, Criminal Justice Leadership and the Women and Criminal Justice Conference. She will continue to serve as Executive Director of the Texas Jail Association and her division will be the Secretariat for the Texas Probation Association.

Hurst will oversee all jail management programs.
“I’m not really changing hats, just adding a few more,” said Hurst. “I have a lot of field experience and the Jail Association has helped me learn even more.”

In addition to participating in conferences with the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, the American Jail Association and the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents, Hurst is working to bring CMIT programs out to the counties that need them. Due to budget cuts, many jurisdictions can’t afford to send their correctional officers to Huntsville, so Hurst is lining up certification programs for jailers locally. Among the classes expected to be offered off-site are Interpersonal Communications, Basic Spanish for Jail Facilitators and Suicide Prevention, all key requirement for basic, intermediate on advanced jailer certifications.

“Sharese continues to do an exceptional job in working with county corrections across the state and across the country in providing critical training to jail leadership as well as in her role as Executive Director for the Texas Jail association,” said Dretke. “Her new position will enable the Institute to continue to build our program and technical assistance capacity as we serve as a resource to correctional professionals.

The first two sites for the fall program will be Palo Pinto and Brazos counties, and the classes will be offered at minimal cost of up to $50. The programs are expected to be provided year round instead of once annually, as it had been in the past.

“We want to help counties that can’t afford to come to us,” said Hurst. “There may be some opportunities for us to go to them…The demand is out there. I have stacks of requests from different counties that want training, but can’t afford to leave their jurisdiction.”

Marton will coordinate mid and senior corrections leadership programs.
Marton will coordinate mid and senior corrections leadership programs.
Marton is no stranger to training programs. At TDCJ, he was responsible for the training of 39,000 employees a year, including Pre-service, In-service, Leadership Development, Specialized Training and Ancillary Training Programs.

“Jeff brings a tremendous amount of expertise to the Institute through his experience within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice both from serving in senior and executive level positions and with his experience in training,” said Dretke. “We are extremely fortunate to have him join our incredible group of people already working within the Institute and look forward to working with him as we continue to develop and deliver leadership training to the field.”

Before becoming Director of Training at TDCJ, Marton served as Warden at six institutions which included custody levels that ranged from maximum, medium and low risk custody facilities, a psychiatric facility, a substance abuse program facility and a small transfer hub. He served at Tulia Transfer Facility in Tulia; the O.L. Luther Unit in Navasota; the Jester IV Unit in Richmond; the Ruben M. Torres Unit in Hondo, the Joe Ney Unit in Hondo, and the John B. Connally Unit in Kenedy.

“It’s a passion of mine – the training side,” said Marton. “I don’t consider it a job. It is something that I enjoy, and it allows me to be stable in a location. It’s hard for me to call it work.”

With 30 years of experience in the field, Marton said he can easily relate to the issues facing today’s corrections leaders, including the responsibilities, the obligations and the demands that come with the job.

As a Christian, Marton bring the principals of his faith to the job and makes sure that those values are applied to every aspect of his work. It all came into sharp focus in January 2003, when he found himself at the center of a hostage situation, a rare occurrence inside the walls of a prison.

An offender had gone to the infirmary to visit a member of the clerical staff. While there, he pulled a concealed shank out of his clothes and held it up to the woman’s throat. Marton, then an Assistant Warden, was on his way to the infirmary to process the daily count when the call came over the radio.

For the next two and a half hours, he and a co-worker talked with the offender. Eventually, the inmate let the woman go.

“It was a life-inspiring moment,” said Marton. “It keeps me focused in remaining firm in what is important in life and reminds us how blessed we each are. It conveyed the dangers of the field, but sometimes it is not always the danger, but the opportunity.”

Member of The Texas State University System